Monday, July 12, 2010

The self publishing trap

Have you heard the horror stories? You know, those authors that took ten years to finish their manuscript only to have every publisher that they submitted it to laugh in their face and reject it?

If they had the secret that the most prolific writers use, those same people could have had one hundred books completed and on sale. No joke – there really is a way to produce extremely high quality books in very short time. It is also possible to sell those books in multiple markets and across both traditional and non-traditional distribution lines.

Typical non-traditional markets fall short when it comes to quality and delivery of real value. Anyone searching online can discover everything they need to know to create a physical printing of their manuscript. Does that make it a book? That depends upon who you talk to.

At minimum, for a writing to be considered a “book”, the writing must have an ISBN number, a barcode, a price, a publisher and be in distribution at least once. Distribution means that it is sold (and has been purchased to)by the public. Otherwise it is just a manuscript.

Books are bound into a cover of some sorts. Covers vary wildly in their composition and style, but the “perfect bound” cover is the most common. Some books are bound with clear plastic over-pages on their cover to protect them from otherwise destructive conditions and some have fancy or unusual materials comprising parts of their cover.

Anyone can get a book printed, but to get it into circulation and creating sales – that’s where the real work begins. This is largely in part due to the fact that Ingram and the big-five NYC publishers have the bookstore market scared stupid. They feed the bookstores all kind of propaganda about how “minor league writers” are risky and how they are such low quality that no one will purchase their books. This can be a dream killer for many self-published authors.

A non-traditional publisher will give you an “Advance” (check) for a couple of thousand to a couple of tens of thousands of dollars based upon how much they believe they can make on your work. It sounds like a great deal until you do the math. You’ll get about twenty-cents per copy sold. At that per-unit revenue, it will take huge sales for you to make a dime over the “Advance”. The publisher can charge you back for that advance if the book doesn’t sell more than they have advanced you at your twenty-cents a copy rate.

Even if you sell a bunch of books, it will take you quite awhile before you see a check because you are paying back the advance.

There is a better way emerging. New Era Publishers are taking up the fight for authors, bookstores and readers. We are out to change the industry into a better business model where everyone wins. To learn more, download our free report here. You will find a number of videos that take you deeper into this new movement.

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